Early betting for Caulfield has stagnated with everyone keeping an eye on the weather. According to the race day app provided by the Melbourne Racing Club (a terrific tool). There was 6mm overnight and a total of 17.4mm for the last seven days.
The track is currently listed as a Soft 5 and with little to no rain predicted from now it should hold in that range.
The track walkers will be out in force – those that live within 5km anyway. Is it an essential service? Anyway I digress. The track should race perfectly well, and the predicted wind should not cause any issues.
When considering a bet early into what might be rain effected tracks I tend to tread lightly, particularly when we really do not know how much rain will come.
We have to remember those at the Bureau Of Meteorology are just performing probabilistic forecasting, the same as us. They will get it wrong, as will we.
I would not like to have been backing horses looking for a bog track, or the outer extremity of the rain forecasts only to see a track rated a 4 or 5 offered up.
I am also loath to bet early on very heavy tracks as there is more likely to be track bias at play and I want to absorb this information into my thinking before betting.
Remember that my staking plan is for a bank of $100 so if I am betting $12 you would be having 12 per cent of your bank on if you choose to have a larger or smaller bank.
Caulfield Stakes – Race 6
Very hard to see any sort of edge in this race. The market has Russian Camelot around the $1.50 mark which is hard to argue with.
Arcadia Queen has the bar plates off and so might be somewhat improved while Humidor looks to be nearing his best, although we cannot expect him to stretch back to his absolute peak as an eight-year-old.
Good race that will give us another guide to Russian Camelot and his credentials. Hard to believe that it is one day shy of a year since he made his debut.
Thousand Guineas – Race 7
Hungry Heart was run down late in the Flight Stakes last week with Montefilia making the most of the cart into the race off her back and proving stronger late.
She presents here with blinkers on first time which should see her racing closer and she is only fourth up and as such not likely to be over the top.
There must be some query as to whether she would be here had she won her Group 1 last start, but we must presume that she is well.
Instant Celebrity has the credentials and sectional ability to be a Group 1 horse. However I do have to question the overall quality of the Victorian fillies as exposed by Thermosphere last week who won after sitting three-wide facing the strong northerly and still won.
The other query for Instant Celebrity is her position in the run which is likely to be near last. Backing Hungry Heart as a decent overlay from my $3 quote and saving on Thermosphere who could be the last girl standing if it becomes a staying test.
Caulfield Guineas – Race 8
This is a quality race and one where a case can be made for multiple runners.
Tagaloa had a fantastic two-year-old season winning the Blue Diamond and running fourth in the Golden Slipper and he has come back well and been toughened up by racing the open age Rupert Clarke field last start.
Ole Kirk is the obvious favourite and I do concede he is the likely winner. He took a giant step in ratings last start winning the Golden Rose and if he repeats, he will win. But will he?
Kings Legacy and Ole Kirk faced off in the Champagne Stakes last autumn with starting prices of $2.70 and $4.80 respectively. Kings Legacy won the race by 1½ lengths that day.
Crosshaven has won four from five and has serious upside. Then there is the X-factor of Mo’unga who has shown great sectional ability in his last pair of wins. This may be a stretch too far, but he has untapped potential.
Very hard race.
Toorak Handicap – Race 9
Very open Group 1 handicap, as is typical of these races.
Buffalo River needs to bring his best from a series of lower grade wins and he appears to be under the odds to me, albeit I have a healthy respect for him.
Trainer Mick Moroney has noted he will be allowed to roll this week. This may be optimal for the horse but with Archenar Star likely to be pushing up underneath along with Age Of Chivalry and Sircconi from wide there looks like there will be a very strong pace. This sets it up perfectly for the horses I am keenest on.
Cascadian has a habit of being slowly away, which is a concern and this hurt him in the Rupert Clarke Stakes when he was climbing all over the back of the pack late and arguably should have won. With that reserved energy he looks a horse ready to explode and on my rating of $7 there is a big edge.
The other horse I really like is Superstorm. He was unlucky in the Rupert Clarke also before stretching to 2000m third up.
The drop back to 1600m here is far more suitable and I expect him to be finishing very hard. Again, on my $6 rating he represents great value.
Spring Champion Stakes – Race 7
The public market here almost exactly matches my early thoughts.
Flight Stakes winner Montefilia is the favourite and she’ll be looking to make it three fillies to win the race in five years.
Stretching back 12 years if you backed every filly in this race to return one-unit at the SP, the return was a profit on turnover (POT) of 54 per cent
Love Tap is the unbeaten and untapped gelding standing in her way. I cannot split them and nor can the market. That being the case it’s a no-bet race for me.
FRIDAY EARLY PLAYS
Caulfield – Race 7 No.1 Hungry Heart ($3.40) – 23 units
Caulfield – Race 9 No.2 Cascadian ($11) – 8 units
Caulfield – Race 9 No.5 Superstorm ($9.50) – 10 units
* Be sure to return tomorrow for The Saturday Line where we’ll lock in the remainder of our bets.